'The lashing of Christ'

 

 

'Julia'

 

 

'Alone'

 

 

 

Images used with permission
from COCA (Centre of Contemporary Art)

image gallery

Fallen II

A review of Sam Harrison's recent exhibition

COCA (Centre of Contemporary Art), Christchurch
8 – 25 April 2009

 

Only a year after his first Fallen exhibition at CoCA Sam Harrison again filled the Mair gallery with his portraiture – both sculpture and woodcuts.

On closer inspection what appeared to be full size bronze figures were actually concrete, painted black and slightly burnished. A couple of works in natural grey were more explicitly concrete. I have a particular liking for work in ‘poor’ materials and I was very impressed with the fine casting in that medium. All were executed with a confident exuberance.

Surrounding the three dimensional figures were walls full of fluent woodcuts. These also were a delightful use of a basic material. The woody nature – knots and grain – was clearly discernable, while doubling as a suitable texture for flesh. This dual role was particularly operational in large areas of shadow, all skilfully handled.

Both woodcuts and sculptures gave a sense of old styles of art. However there were clues for viewers that they had not stepped back in time. ‘Black self-portrait’ had the naked artist wearing his watch and ‘Red Christ’ was seated on a clearly modern chair. Also, with or without any detailed knowledge of technique, the viewer would probably have a background awareness that photographic techniques were involved, without diminishing the impressive virtuosity of producing woodcuts of such scale and fluidity.

The most outstanding work was ‘The Lashing of Christ’ – a vast woodcut prominent on the end wall of the main gallery. This work gripped attention. It was a less recognisable subject than Harrison’s previous ‘Crucifixion’ (2008), resulting in more immediacy for a contemporary viewer. It could not be safely categorised as a religious work from the belief systems of a bygone era. At first glance one was simply drawn in as a bystander to a scene of unexplained violence.

 

Read the previous review on "Fallen I" by Warren Feeney in CS ARTS issue 31, October 2008

 

Reviewed and written by Janet Chambers

 

Read other exhibition reviews online

Discuss this exhibition in the chrysalis seed arts community

Browse the CS Arts archives

 

 

 

 

 
Copyright © 2009 Chrysalis Seed Trust | site mapWeb design New Zealand by Wolters Kluwer